Field instrumentation of steel highway bridges


Roberto Leon, Theodore Galambos, Jeffrey Schmit, Ai-Lien Teng

February 1993

Report no. Mn/DOT 1994-15

Two projects dealing with field instrumentation of bridges are described in this report. In the first project, a portable, rugged and multi-purpose bridge instrumentation system was developed. This was accomplished by using fourteen removable instruments and a portable data acquisition. The instrumentation included eight reusable strain sensors and six inclinometers, which allowed load distributions, stresses, and displacements to be measured in steel girder bridges. In the second part of the project the portable data acquisition system was used to measure strains near fatigue critical details in steel bridges to determine stress ranges under both controlled and random traffic. For this part of the project conventional strain gauges were also used.

Overall this acquisition and modelling system worked quite well for determining strains and deflections of simply supported bridges under static loadings. A new measurement technique for finding deflections, based on slope sensors, was developed and verified. This technique can now be readily used in bridge evaluation. The system should be extended now to various types of bridges including continuous span, concrete girder, and timber bridges.

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